Malaria Hits Hard 60% of the Yemeni population are at risk of malaria [Archives:2001/44/Health]
Malaria has always been the top health problem in the Republic of Yemen, whose population is about 18 million, and of particular concern during the 1980s and 1990s. The epidemic situation of malaria deteriorated in the 1990s due to various political, economic, and meteorological factors. It is estimated that 60% of Yemeni population is at risk of catching malaria. To discuss the problem, Mr. Ismael Al Ghaberi met the General Manager of the National Program for Rolling Pack Malaria, Dr. Shawki Abdullah Almawery.
Q: Why has malaria become one of the world’s leading global problems?
A: It is indeed the main concern of many nations in the world. So, the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted a new strategy three decades ago in order to eradicate this serious epidemic disease. Unfortunately, this strategy failed mainly because of the parasite’s resistance to drugs and insecticides and the overall cost of the campaign which depleted the third world countries financial resources. At a meeting of the WHO which took place in Amsterdam in 1994, the discussions focused on the global state of malaria, its immediate diagnosis and early treatment, and the adoption of new strategies to get rid of it.
Q: What are the main causes of the the spread of malaria in Yemen?
A: Malaria reached epidemic proportions, particularly during the 1990s. A number of reasons contributed to its spread. Firstly, the huge number of immigrants from Yemen’s neighboring countries, where generally malaria breeds, carried the disease with them.
The worse part is that the Horn of Africa is a perfect meteorological system for malaria, as heavy rainfalls, rise in temperature and in humidity are observed. Undoubtedly, Yemen is also classified as one of the countries where epidemic malaria is spreading fast.
The disease can be successfully diagnosed at a rate of 90 percent. It has been confirmed that epidemic areas are generally overpopulated regions where the mortality rate reached the number of 10,000.
As a result, the affected cases of spleen reached 70 percent in the high and middle areas, and more than 10,000 affected cases were found in the low areas.
Q: Do you have any plans or new strategies for reducing malaria?
Our objective is:
– To establish a strong and well-organized National Center for National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) based in Sana’a. We want this program to have strong infrastructure facilities capable to plan, execute, monitor, supervise and evaluate the different control activities for malaria.
– To train national cadres capable of planning, running, supervising and evaluating the different control activities for malaria.
– To reduce the mortality rate by 80% by the end of the 5-year strategy 2001-2005.
– To achieve malaria eradication from Suqatra Island by the end of the 5-year plan 2001-2005.
In conclusion, through the channel of Yemen Times, the General Manager of the National Program stressed on the cooperative efforts to be made to get rid of this epidemic. The Manager pointed out the significance of cooperation between Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman, international organizations, donor countries, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to work side by side to get rid of malaria and other epidemic diseases. He highly spoke of the leading role played by the Sultanate of Oman in helping Yemen with means of transportation at a joint meeting between both nations focusing on eradicate malaria.